All the cancer news that’s “fit to read”

This article is about the strong tendency of media reports about cancer to present “positive” stories and minimize “negative” ones.

from Helen Jacque’s blog: http://goo.gl/guWd

Cancer stories seem to make the news on a daily basis. For example, just today in the UK there are stories about a gene that could predispose non-smokers to lung cancer, how infertile men are at raised risk of prostate cancer, and how testing for the HPV virus during cervical screening doesn’t help pick up women who might go on to develop cervical cancer.

But it’s not just a case of “all publicity is good publicity.” Research published recently inArchives of Internal Medicine has shown that newspaper and magazine stories on cancer tend to focus on survival and aggressive treatments but steer clear of covering treatment failure, side effects of treatment, end of life care, and death.

The authors of this study looked at 436 500-word articles from top American newspapers and magazines, such as Chicago Tribune, New York Times, Newsweek, and Time. The 312 newspaper articles and 124 magazine pieces largely covered breast cancer (35.1%) and prostate cancer (14.9%), two of the most common types of cancer in the US.

Articles were more likely to focus on people who had survived or been cured of cancer than on people who had died of the disease (32.1% vs 7.6%). In fact, those articles that covered individual patients (173 articles; 216 individuals), more than three quarters covered success stories and only a fifth told the story of someone who had died of cancer.

click link for more: http://goo.gl/guWd

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